Arrests Trigger Clashes In Baramulla, Sopore, Srinagar21 February 2010
Baramulla: A youth sustained critical injuries after being hit by a tear smoke shell in the eye during clashes in Baramulla while at least 15 other persons including some cops were injured in the clashes in North Kashmir and Srinagar that were triggered by arrests. Meanwhile, a youth hailing from Maisuma identified as Owais alias Mandela was booked under PSA and shifted to Kotbalwal. Eyewitnesses said the youth took to roads at Sumo Stand, Baramulla and staged demonstrations. Chanting pro-freedom, pro-Islamic and anti-India slogans, they were protesting against the arrest of youth. Nearly a dozen youth have been detained by police in the township in last few days. Demanding release of the arrested persons, the protesting youth tried to storm a local police station. They pelted stones and bricks on the police station. The policemen swung into action and fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse the agitating youth. A youth identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Khan of Dewanbagh was critically injured after being hit by the tear-smoke shell in the eye. He was shifted to Sub District Hospital, Baramulla where from doctors referred him to SKIMS, Srinagar for specialized treatment. The doctors in SKIMS termed his condition as critical. As the news spread that a youth has been critically injured in police shelling, a group of youth assembled at Tehsil Point, Cement Bridge and at many other places in Baramulla and clashed with police and CRPF personnel. The cops fired tear smoke shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse the stone pelting youth. Reports said that seven persons were injured in the day long clashes. SSP Baramulla, Shakeel Ahmad Beigh said four cops were injured in the clashes. “All of them are out of danger. The clashes were of low intensity as compared to past two days,” SSP said. The clashes also broke out at Batapora, Sopore when some youth pelted stones on police and CRPF men deployed in the area. Chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protestors were demanding release of the youth, who have been detained by police. The cops resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, who retaliated by hurling bricks and stones on them. The troops also fired some rubber bullets towards the protestors. According to records of Sub District Hospital Sopore (SDH), six persons were injured in the clashes. One of them identified as Isfaq Majeed son of Abdul Majeed of Batpora, Sopore was hit by rubber bullet on right thigh. He was shifted to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment. However, SHO police station Sopore, Shakeel Ahmad said none was injured in the clashes. “The protesters were dispersed peacefully without using any excessive force,” he claimed. Clashes in Maisuma People in Maisuma came out on streets on Sunday to protest against the arrest of a youth, Owais Ahmad alias Mandela. The protesting youth clashed with police and CRPF personnel, who were deployed in strength in the area. The cops fired dozens of tear smoke shells to disperse the youth, who were demanding release of Mandela. Three persons were injured in the pitched battles that continued till evening. A police official said that Mandela was booked under Public Safety Act. “He was a known stone thrower,” he said. A local news gathering agency reported that Mandela called his residence this afternoon and told them that he is being shifted to Kotbalwal Jail. Youth also fought pitched battles with police at Gojwara, Nowhatta, and adjacent areas in old city. Arrests condemned For the second time in last one month, a group of masked youth, held a press conference in the inner lanes of Maisuma and condemned the arrest of youth across Kashmir. “Police are arresting people at their own will and our leaders are silent. If our leaders don’t condemn these arrests, then we will be forced to start protesting against them as well. We will continue our protests and strike till our brothers are not released,” the masked youth were reported as having said by a local news gathering agency, KMN. The group, according to KMN, has asked people to observe shutdown for four days to protest the arrest of youth.